Summary: Pt 4 - deals with the need to simplify life and set priorities if we are to be successful in life.
The Secrets to Successful Living
Pt 4 – Simplifying Life
We started several weeks ago talking about this idea of success and the Christian. We’ve talked about idea’s of changing our measure of success, keeping Christ central to life, and last week we talked about Boundaries and Balance. This morning I want to turn our attention to another passage in I Timothy – as Paul shares with Timothy more about how to be successful in this Christian life.
If we want to be successful we need…
To Simplify Life – v6-8 – The reality of the world around us is that we simply have too much and too many. The reality of our life is that almost every one of us has too much, goes too much, sees too much, wants too much, lives too fast, goes too far, does too many things, and as a consequence we are never happy, always frazzled, perpetually exhausted, and constantly in search of more. Man it makes me tired just talking about it. The tyranny of the 21st century is the constant desire for more. More stuff, more opportunity, more activity and the process has left us breathless, depressed, anxious, and deeply troubled. This constant craving for bigger, better, and more has left us in an almost constant state of panic – what’s next. Watch this and see if you can identify with this couple – listen carefully at the end as they ask the question “why do we do this?” Bluefish clip – Almost every parent I talk to today has the same problem – so why do we keep doing it. What are we teaching our children and what will their lives be like as adults. Folks if we want to find success we need to do three simple things – that are the hardest things you will ever attempt to do.
Decide what’s important to you. The answer everything is not acceptable. Everything is not of equal importance or if it is you need to get a grip on your life. I love how Paul puts things in perspective “we have brought nothing into the world, so we can take nothing out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.” Let me ask you parents – what would you trade for your children? If someone walked in the door today and said “If I gave you ______ would you give me your children?” What would you say? A new car, a big house, a million dollars, a promotion, a boyfriend or girlfriend, what would you say? The answer I’m sure is nothing but that’s not how most of us are living. Most of us are trading our children’s lives for the stuff we do and want. Many of us are trading our marriages for the stuff we want or the things we do. For many of us we have way too much, too many priorities, to many things to actually have what we really want. You need to sit down and begin to think about what is really important in your life. Begin to spend your time on that.
Slow Down – begin to take control of your own schedule. Last week we talked about boundaries. This is where boundaries begin. Unless you begin to dictate your own schedule you will never find a way to slow down. Folks you cannot do everything or have everything – you need to begin to focus your life on the things you decide are important. Verse 9 says “those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin.” This isn’t just true of money – the truth is that all of our desire for life leads us to many foolish and harmful desires which plunge us into ruin. Slow down – take control of your life in a balanced way that makes room for family, rest, faith, growth, relationships and not just stuff.
Live your life with purpose and passion – v.11-12 – It’s time to stop just existing and start living. It’s time to start living for something that’s worth dying for. Most of the things that we are spending our life on simply don’t matter. Paul encourages Timothy to begin to live for something that is real and eternal. Listen to me folks never let other people determine what’s important to you. We have talked about the truth that Success is about becoming what God created you to be. You can have everything and do everything that everyone else has and does and die without passion. Passion in life comes from the inside – it comes from becoming what you were made to be.
The hardest journey some of you will ever make is the journey to take control of your life. We simply aren’t very good at it. We have been told that we can have it all and there is a part of our heart that believes it and really desperately wants it. But look at life and you will find a simple conclusion – we can’t have it all. The question is if we can’t have it all what part do you really want to have.